WCF / Céline Stucki

#WWCC2020: Meet the teams

 The World Women’s Curling Championship 2020 will take place from 14-22 March in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. 13 women’s teams from around the globe will compete for the world title.

The route to the world championship is different for every Member Association. Let’s break it down.

During the 2019-2020 curling season, teams have the opportunity to qualify their nation for the world championship based on their performance at various World Curling Federation championships.

The first event of the season, the Pacific Asia Curling Championships 2019, were held in early November in Shenzhen, China. From this zone, two places were up for grabs – the gold and silver medallists. By reaching the final, China and Japan, secured their places in Prince George. China beat Japan 10-3 in this final.

Directly after the Pacific-Asia championship, is the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2019 which were hosted in Helsingborg, Sweden. The top seven nations from a ten-team field, qualified for the worlds. Sweden defeated Scotland in the final 5-4. In addition, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic and Denmark earned places.

All hope wasn’t lost for those who didn’t qualify in Shenzhen or Helsingborg. The next-ranked teams earned themselves a second chance at qualifying for the world championship through the World Qualification Event. It was the second year for this novel event, with teams from all three World Curling Federation zones (America’s, Europe and Pacific-Asia) being represented. A pre-set number of nations qualified for this event.

The World Qualification Event was held in January 2020, in Lohja, Finland. The top two teams from this event, claimed the final places at the world championship. Korea defeated Italy 6-5 in the first match. Italy had one more chance to qualify, in their game against Turkey, where they won 8-4.

Finally, the America’s zone will be represented by United States and hosts, Canada.

Now, let’s meet the teams.

Canada

There’s a new name in town. Hosts, Canadian skip, Kerri Einarson, won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts against 2017 world champion, Rachel Homan, in an extra end. Einarson drew her last shot perfectly to the button to win, 8-7, and earn her first Canadian women’s title. For three of the players, it will be their first time wearing the maple leaf at the world women’s championship. Fortunate enough, they can lean on their second player, Shannon Birchard for support. She played with Jennifer Jones at the 2018 world championship as an alternate and went on to win gold on home ice.

Skip: Kerri Einarson
Third: Val Sweeting
Second: Shannon Birchard
Lead: Briane Meilleur
Alternate: Jennifer Clark-Rouire

China

The Chinese side, skipped by Han Yu, led the team with a slightly different line-up to gold at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in November. The young skip is emerging from her junior career, where she placed fourth at the World Junior’s in 2019. This line-up was selected by the Chinese Curling Association head coaches.

Team China © WCF / Tom Rowland



Skip:
Han Yu
Third: Zhang Lijun
Second: Jiang Xindi
Lead: Yu Jiaxin
Alternate: Dong Ziqi

Japan

One of the stars that emerged from the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games will return to the championship for the first time since 2016 – when the team claimed silver. The Japanese side, skipped by Satsuki Fujisawa, won Olympic bronze two years ago after defeating Scotland, 5-3. Since then, the team have come close to returning to the world stage and finally broke through last month after defeating last year’s national champions, Seina Nakajima 7-6 in an extra end.

Skip: Satsuki Fujisawa
Third: Chinami Yoshida
Second: Yumi Suzuki
Lead: Yurika Yoshida
Alternate: Eri Ogihara

Korea

Korea will be skipped by Pacific-Asia bronze medallists, Gim Un Chi. The unit won their Korean nationals in August 2019, earning the right to represent Korea at all international events for the 2019-2020 season. Despite not appearing on the world stage since 2016, the skip has plenty of experience – as she played third at the Olympics in 2014.

Team Korea WCF / Tom Rowland

Skip: Gim Un-chi
Third: Um Min-ji
Second: Kim Su-ji
Lead: Seol Ye-eun
Alternate: Seol Ye-ji

Czech Republic

Anna Kubeskova and her team from Czech Republic return to the worlds after a one-year hiatus in 2019. Kubeskova has skipped her team in four world championships, the most recent, in 2017 and 2018 where they finished seventh and sixth respectfully. Each year, the team has improved their ranking and will look to do the same in Prince George. As the side finished sixth at this year’s European Curling Championship, they qualified themselves as the Czech national team.

Skip: Anna Kubeskova
Third: Alzbeta Baudysova
Second: Petra Vinsova
Lead: Ezen Kolcevskaja
Alternate: Michaela Baudysova

Denmark

The youngest skip in the event – at just 21 years old – comes in the form of Mathilde Halse from Denmark. Halse played lead for Madeleine Dupont at the 2018 Olympics and skipped her team to a sixth-place finish at this year’s World Junior Curling Championships. The team’s second, Karolina Jensen represented Denmark at the Youth Olympic Games in Switzerland this past January. Despite being the youngest team in the field, they have experience on curling’s biggest stages.

Skip: Mathilde Halse
Third: Jasmin Lander
Second: Karolina Jensen
Lead: Julie Hoegh
Alternate: Madeleine Dupont

Germany

Returning for her sixth appearance in a row is Germany’s Daniela Jentsch. The team finished fifth at the European’s this year but have been consistently in the bottom half of the standings at the world championship. In 2019, they finished ninth and will look to make a jump in the right direction this year.

Skip: Daniela Jentsch
Third:
Emira Abbes
Second:
Klara-Hermine Fomm
Lead:
Analena Jentsch
Alternate:
Mia Hoehne

Italy

Much like team Denmark, don’t underestimate this team based on their age. The team won the European B-Division this year and then was selected to represent Italy on the world stage after securing a spot via the World Qualification Event. The team is skipped by Veronica Zappone, who has played third at two world championships (2017, 2018).

Skip: Veronica Zappone
Third: Stefania Constantini
Second: Angela Romei
Lead: Giulia Lacedelli
Alternate: Elena Dami

Russia

This Russian team is consistently in the mix of the top teams at most international events. Skip, Alina Kovaleva and her new lineup compared to the 2019 worlds, finished short of the podium at the Europeans, falling to Swiss world champions in the bronze medal game. At the world level, she skipped her team to a fifth-place finish last year, with a 9-4 record. The unit won the right to represent Russia after defeating Anna Sidorova in a best of seven series.

Skip: Alina Kovaleva
Third: Maria Komarova
Second: Galina Arsenkina
Lead: Katerina Kuzmina
Alternate: Anastasia Danshina

Scotland

One of Scottish curling’s best-known names is Eve Muirhead. From 2009 until 2017 Muirhead represented Scotland at every single world championship and won gold in 2013. After a team shakeup following the disappointment of not medaling at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Muirhead and co failed to win the Scottish championship in both 2018 and 2019. But, with a new lineup the team is making their world championship debut and will put up a strong fight for a medal.

Skip: Eve Muirhead
Third: Lauren Gray
Second: Jennifer Dodds
Lead: Vicky Wright
Alternate: Sophie Sinclair

Sweden

All eyes will be on Sweden, the reigning Olympic champions, as they compete to check the final missing box on their list of achievements – become world champions. In both 2018 and 2019, Sweden has made the final of the women’s worlds, but both times watched on as their opponent made the last shot to win gold – both in extra ends. The rink is one of the best teams in the world and have the experience to back themselves up. At the European’s in November, skip, Hasselborg, made an incredible raise takeout to win the title on home ice. Without a doubt, this team is a favourite to medal.

Skip: Anna Hasselborg
Third: Sara McManus
Second: Agnes Knochenhauer
Lead: Sofia Mabergs
Alternate: Johanna Heldin

Switzerland

Of course, with the strength of curling in Switzerland, expect a strong team regardless of the name. Elena Stern and her team are making their world championship debut. But, the road to Prince George wasn’t so simple, having to beat reigning world champions, Silvana Tirinzoni, in the Swiss national final to get there. Stern won bronze at the World Junior Curling Championships in 2015 and is making her women’s break through five years later.

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What a week! We are so happy with our performance during the whole week and to complete it with winning the titel is even better! We want to thank all of our supporters: family, friends, sponsors and of course coaches! This woulnd‘t be possible without you! It‘s unbelievable how many people are standing behind us! Thank you very much! 🥇🏆🥌Now it‘s time to get ready for the worlds starting on 14 March in Prince George, BC 📸: @stuckiceline ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @curlingcluboberwallis @kaegifriends @ashamcurling @shotshop.ch @heinzsternag @opedgmbh @runbackcurling #cta @kandahar_swiss @sponsersportfood_com @hardlinecurling @rockwatcher.ca #curling #champions #swissnationals #worlds

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Fourth: Briar Huerlimann
Skip: Elena Stern
Second: Lisa Gisler
Lead: Celine Koller
Alternate: Corrie Huerlimann

United States

United States’ top two teams faced off in the USA Curling National Championship with the winner heading to Prince George. Tabitha Peterson (stepping up in place of skip Nina Roth who recently had a baby) met last year’s champions, Jamie Sinclair. The Peterson rink – who also represented United States at the PyeongChang Olympics – won 7-5. This unit last wore the stars and stripes at the world championship in 2017.

Skip: Tabitha Peterson
Third: Rebecca Hamilton
Second: Tara Peterson
Lead: Aileen Geving
Alternate: Allison Pottinger

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Prince George, Canada

4 March 2020